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Project Title:Terre Haute Innovation AllianceInstitution Name:Indiana State University Innovation Category:Research and Regional Stewardship Project Director:Chris Pfaff, Director, Business Engagement CenterContact Information:(812) 237-2536, chris.pfaff@indstate.eduWebsite:http://www.indstate.edu/businessengagement/
Project Description:Created in 2008 the Terre Haute Innovation Alliance is a partnership between the City of Terre Haute, Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation, Indiana State University (ISU) and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT). ISU and RHIT provide university commercialization services to companies in the process of developing or expanding their products.ISU provides limited business incubation space in the Myers Technology Center.The Alliance program at ISU is managed by the Business Engagement Center.  Services also are provided to client companies through the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Ventures program. Prospects for the program can be identified by any of the partners and are reviewed by all of the partners.
Objectives:
  • Create jobs in Terre Haute and west central Indiana.

  • Provide “virtual” and physical incubation services through ISU’s Business Engagement Center to companies in the process of developing or expanding their products.  Incubation services include:

  • Office and lab space: amenities include private office space, voice and data connectivity, office furniture and access to available university conferencing services.

  • Administrative support: the Center offers the services of a professional administrative assistant to help manage schedules, meetings, messages, invoice and supplies’ tracking. 

  • Commercialization services: the Center facilitates collaboration between companies and ISU faculty and staff for product development (i.e. marketing focus groups, internships, etc.).
Outcomes:
  • Seventy-five new jobs, mostly in high-tech fields, have been created through the Alliance  since its founding.  The new jobs include medical imaging software technicians, voice recognition software developers, pharmaceutical testing technicians, and sales and marketing positions.   Ten companies have received support from the Business Engagement Center.  Two companies utilize incubation space on campus.  Eight receive services at their business off-campus.  Every business has employed ISU students and/or faculty. 

  • The success of Midwest Compliance Laboratories (MC Labs) illustrates the impact of the Alliance.  MC Labs was launched by two former employees of a large pharmaceutical company. The company provides a range of testing services to companies from the pharmaceutical, dietary supplement, and food industries to ensure product quality and compliance with federal regulations. Within two years of the company’s launch, the full-time staff had grown from two to fourteen.  The company will soon outgrow the University’s facilities and will need to move to a permanent location in the community.
Challenges/Problems Encountered:ISU’s incubation/accelerator program is unique in its hybrid model of providing both physical and virtual incubation.  Although this model had proven to be quite effective for our current participating client companies, our ability is provide physical space to new companies early in their development is limited.  Current incubation space is limited to 8,000 square feet in the Myers Technology Center.  The entire space is currently occupied.  Until the time one of the two companies moves their entire operation off campus, we will not be able to offer access to physical incubation space to new clients.
Evaluation Approach:A separate evaluation approach is required for each company.  The Project Director works with each participating client to develop a plan for how the company will utilize Alliance resources.  A company should be prepared to leave the Alliance within a two to four-year period.  The Project Director meets individually with Alliance company representatives monthly and completes an annual formal evaluation.  In the event that a company is not making projected progress toward goals, an alternative course of action may be implemented.
Potential for Replication:The success of the Terre Haute Innovation Alliance depends on the willingness of two very different higher education institutions to work in partnership with the city and local economic development corporation. Each institution identified the services they can bring to the partnership.  Both ISU and RHIT refer clients to the other institution if it is in the best interest of the client.  The relationship throughout the partnership has been cooperative, as opposed to competitive.
Additional Resources:RHIT Ventures: http://www.rhventures.org/ 
CEO-to-CEO Contact:Daniel J. Bradley , PresidentDan.Bradley@indstate.edu
(812) 237-4000
Date Published: Monday, October 1, 2012